Our Purpose

The North Dakota STEM Ecosystem intends to be a resource hub for the many, existing, quality STEM Education Resources available in the state of North Dakota. We are taking steps to cultivate a STEM Ecosystem that can provide the STEM-capable workforce needed for North Dakota’s economy.

Mission Statement

The North Dakota STEM Ecosystem seeks to provide a collaboration for providing all students high-quality experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics related fields. The Ecosystem is driven by:

  • Promoting the need for greater advances in STEM for all students.
  • Creating regional communities that can better focus on local needs.
  • Encouraging every sector of the community to take responsibility for contributing to the education of all students by developing a community of practice.
  • Encouraging educational practices that increase student engagement by utilizing inquiry-based, design processes to connect curriculum content to real live relevance and to active learning.

Mission statement rewritten -Promoting the need to advance STEM education for all students. -Fostering regional communities that focus on local education needs. -Encouraging an alliance between state, public, and private institutions to build cooperation and integration for STEM education. -Advocating for educational practices that increase student engagement by utilizing inquiry-based, design processes to connect curriculum content to real life relevance and to active learning.


Beth Demke

Board Chairperson
Executive Director
Gateway to Science

Paul Keidel

Board Vice Chairperson
Chief Operations Officer
Sigma Nanomachining Laser, LLC

Don Fischer

Supervisor Technology & Engineering
North Dakota Career and Technical Education

David DeMuth, Jr.

Professor, Director of Undergraduate Research
Valley City State University

Kristin Brevik

Quality Engineer 
ComDel Innovation Inc.

Rebecca Engelman

Arts in Education ND Council on the Arts

Adam Gehlhar

Jamestown High School

Tim Young

Professor of Astro Physics
University of North Dakota


The ND STEM Ecosystem began as a “Network” in 2009, seeking consultation which originated with the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES) organized by the Valley City State University STEM Center Director Don Mugan and Asst. Director Don Fischer. A foundation of state metrics was determined and regional hubs were established in the northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, and tribal communities. A state STEM Network kickoff was held in Fargo, to which individuals with an interest in, and passion for, STEM education were invited. Additional STEM-related agencies, including Lego®, TIES, Microsoft, ND State University, Wahpeton School of Science, and the PAST Foundation, joined the meeting to reinforce the Network’s efforts to carry the mission to all parts of the state. Thereafter, the Network held regional meetings in an effort to build relationships between all sectors in our state. The current Board of Directors consists of individuals representing K-12 education, higher education (research and graduate institutions), industry, informal education, and state and local government.